Is REDD ready for its closeup? Reports vary

Is REDD ready for its closeup? Reports vary

Earlier this year, it was announced that Indonesia would receive the first installment of a total $1 billion in funds pledged by Norway to preserve the Southeast Asian nation’s tropical forests. Brazil was also set to be paid $96 million, in this case by the UN’s Green Climate Fund, for the emissions avoided by the South American country’s efforts to reduce Amazonian deforestation rates between 2014 and 2015. Both of these were results-based payouts made under the auspices of the UN’s program for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, known as REDD+. As the world’s governments look to curb global warming, protecting what’s left of Earth’s tropical forests is crucial. That means REDD+ could have a huge role to play — but debate is currently raging as to whether or not REDD-based projects can actually deliver the level of emissions reductions necessary to avert runaway global climate change. REDD+ programs can work in a variety of ways. As opposed to wealthy countries and businesses paying developing tropical forest countries directly for proven emissions reductions from reduced deforestation, many are built around carbon offsetting. The idea is that if companies, governments, and anyone else looking to reduce their carbon footprint purchases “carbon credits” to support conservation efforts in forests around the world, those forests will continue to sequester carbon instead of being cut down and releasing their carbon into the atmosphere — and the emissions resulting from the carbon credit-purchasers’ own activities are, in theory, canceled out. A recent article…

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